Anecdotes and eyewitness testimony

#1
Here's one example why both should never be used to judge what is the truth.
This segment is from the Melissa Harris Perry show on MSNBC. The segment involves an eyewitness describing to 911 emergency what a young man is doing with a BBgun in a Walmart store. The most important begins at about 2:05 minutes. His description does not match what this young man was actually doing even though the caller is looking right at the fellow. The caller saw what he wanted to see.
http://www.msnbc.com/melissa-harris-perry/watch/video-released-of-wal-mart-shooting-334558787700
 
#2
Well, considering all your perception throughout life is basically a long series of anecdotes, logically that means you can't trust anything you see or are told as being objectively real with any certainty, since all anyone has to go by is their own subjective experiences and perceptions. If we go off the assumption that all subjective experience is inherently flawed, then all perception of reality is flawed and it is impossible to really see reality.
 
#3
Eye-witness testimony is, by its nature, subjective. That's why such evidence has to be carefully considered in context and why corroboration is so important. I would agree that such evidence from one single source has to be treated cautiously. Also, frankly people sometimes lie and exaggerate.

As Imperial Philosopher says though, to simply reject it isn't reasonable IMHO. On the other hand, as the OP says, to simply accept it as the whole truth without considering the context isn't sensible either.
 
#5
Cherry picking a single example to jump to a definitive conclusion doesn't sound very rational either :)

Couldn't it be that your subjective experience of the provided example is tricking you...? :D
It's not cherry picking and subjectivity is not tricking me.You heard and saw so with your own eyes and ears what was incorrectly described by the 911 caller. So will everyone else. It is well established that eyewitness testimony is often faulty (note I said often, not everytime) and it's also true the anecdote is often the standard by which truth is judged. I even do it myself especially when the anecdote comes from someone I know an trust. People relate their stories which are more often than not greeted with affirmation, but that should not be the standard by which the truth is discovered as this video demonstrated.
 
#6
I will submit that it is probable that emotion played a role in any misperceptions in this particular case. Ultimately, however, we are still left with the same problem, as all most of us have emotions, and therefore are capable of being compromised by them. If said emotions are capable of messing with our perceptions to a huge degree, then you really can't trust much of what you see. It also leads to the possibility of corroboration being useless. Who's to say other people aren't just having delusions that happen to coincide with your own?
 
#7
It's not cherry picking and subjectivity is not tricking me.You heard and saw so with your own eyes and ears what was incorrectly described by the 911 caller. So will everyone else. It is well established that eyewitness testimony is often faulty (note I said often, not everytime) and it's also true the anecdote is often the standard by which truth is judged. I even do it myself especially when the anecdote comes from someone I know an trust. People relate their stories which are more often than not greeted with affirmation, but that should not be the standard by which the truth is discovered as this video demonstrated.
Aren't you offering an anecdote of faulty eyewitness testimony?
 
#8
There are many possible reasons for that, some of which do not fit your (the common) ideas about reality. Staying within those common ideas, the same claims can be said about any experiment or any data analysis. IOW just about any and everything.

So, we can implement the knee-jerk, agenda pursuing approach you think you're being so smart in advocating and use the reams of flawed, failed or faked official scientific experiments as "rationale" to never accept anything from any scientist. Or we can take the approach of being reasonably skeptical (in the genuine sense) about and assessing/verifying on a case-by-case basis all reports - be they those deemed official or otherwise.

BTW .if part of your game is to wear down those beyond materialism with annoying low-level thinking/concepts you are on your way. You now only need to make your presentation of those perspectives less laughable.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#9
I think Steve001 is a proponent playing at being a missionary for materialism. Or just a troll who doesn't care either way.

Kudos for a consummate performance, I'm not ashamed to say I was fooled for a good long while.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
LOL. Why don't you ask him?
Oh, that was a joke.

But seriously, I think it's obvious Steve001 is having a go at the proponents on this forum. Travis brought it up in another thread and it makes perfect sense.

It's not worth drawing out into a long discussion, people can put him on ignore or continue to read him as a genuine poster.
 
#14
Ok, hard to tell with you. You've stated in a quite non-joking manner that you think I'm a fake as well.

But seriously, I think it's obvious Steve001 is having a go at the proponents on this forum.
I think you're wrong. And this is based not just on what he's posted publicly but based on many private discussions as well.

It's not worth drawing out into a long discussion, people can put him on ignore or continue to read him as a genuine poster.
People should ignore or engage him as they will - but if the reason is because they think he's not genuine my suggestion is that they are basing their decision on an incorrect assumption.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#15
Citing private discussions as evidence in this thread of all places - that's a bit ironic no?
 
#16
Citing private discussions as evidence in this thread of all places - that's a bit ironic no?
lol - at first glance, sure. I could make the case in more detail, using only publicly available stuff (including the posts from JREF that Iyace linked to) but its probably not worth it.

Again: better policy is to treat posters as sincere, and engage or not based on what they write rather than on unstated premises the reader assumes lie beyond that...
 
#17
Ok, hard to tell with you. You've stated in a quite non-joking manner that you think I'm a fake as well.



I think you're wrong. And this is based not just on what he's posted publicly but based on many private discussions as well.



People should ignore or engage him as they will - but if the reason is because they think he's not genuine my suggestion is that they are basing their decision on an incorrect assumption.
I actually find it very helpful to use Steve001 as the baseline for absolute ignorance.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#18
(including the posts from JREF that Iyace linked to)
You mean this thread?

Seems to me "woo enabler of the worse kind" is something a troll would say - to a troll getting two forums to go at it is a success.

I also think it's odd that someone genuinely hoping to convince others would continually exploit tragedies in such an obvious, haphazard way. Far more likely it's a tactic to have people direct their anger towards him.

Again: better policy is to treat posters as sincere, and engage or not based on what they write rather than on unstated premises the reader assumes lie beyond that...
I actually said this a few days ago, but upon consideration it's not necessarily true. If you're honestly engaging, while the other person is laughing it up with no intention to consider what you say, then it's likely you've wasted your own time. I suppose one could say, "maybe some lurker was influenced by what you say", but it makes little se
 
#19
You mean this thread?

Seems to me "woo enabler of the worse kind" is something a troll would say - to a troll getting two forums to go at it is a success.
Only if he didn't believe it. Are you using the standard definition of a troll, which is someone who goes onto an internet forum and adopts a guise aimed simply at pissing people off?

Here's a decent definition from urban dictionary.

The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue. Trolling does not mean just making rude remarks: Shouting swear words at someone doesn't count as trolling; it's just flaming, and isn't funny. Spam isn't trolling either; it pisses people off, but it's lame.

The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.
Trolling requires decieving; any trolling that doesn't involve decieving someone isn't trolling at all; it's just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccesful troll.
Read Steve's posts in that thread. Nothing about those posts suggests Steve doesn't believe what he's writing or that his aim is simply to get people arguing for the sake of arguing. Quite the opposite.

I actually said this a few days ago, but upon consideration it's not necessarily true. If you're honestly engaging, while the other person is laughing it up with no intention to consider what you say, then it's likely you've wasted your own time. I suppose one could say, "maybe some lurker was influenced by what you say", but it makes little se
If the other person is not engaging what one actually writes, then they indeed are wasting their time. Which is why I suggest posters make a general effort to engage what is written, rather than argue with what they imagine lies behind the posts. The discussion level on this forum would rise immeasurably if most posters sincerely tried to do this!
 
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